The recent Arkansas New Year’s Eve bird drop may be closer to a cause now that poison is slowly being ruled out. On New Year’s Eve thousands of dead blackbirds mysteriously fell from the sky in Beebe, Arkansas. What does the Arkansas Gaming and Fishing Commission have to say?
The AGFC reports of three types of an estimated 2,500 dead birds were found in Beebe, Arkansas. MSNBC reports of close to 4,000. Authorities from the AGFC sent some of the dead birds to a Madison, Wisconsin lab in hopes of bringing closure to an unusual number of questions.
Today further information supported that the birds died while in mid-flight with empty bellies. Meaning, not while on ground and not poisoned. That rules out any connection between the thousands of diseased dead drum fish and the fallen dead birds found. Blackbirds usually eat seeds and grains, not drum. Go fish.
Ever fly into a smokestack of glowing explosions? Imagine the dangers. It is rumored that fireworks could have stressed out their fragile systems. Take the timing for instance, New Year’s Eve. Countless times the nation has celebrated from 11 until midnight on each New Year’s Eve, July 4th, big event finales and other explosive dramatic moments successfully – without taking out thousands of birds.
Weather may have been involved in the blackbird fly-by fallout. Medscape defines streak lightning the most common in human lightning strike injuries. The lightning itself could cause cardiopulmonary arrest – respiratory paralysis – nervous system injury. And then there’s the shock wave of thunder to consider. A little bird against such odds, think about it. Perfect time for a feel good story turning the impossible possible.
Best Friends supplies an incredible 2005 story surrounding a bird falling victim to a lightning strike. The 13-year-old bird had four burnt feathers and a burn hole as the process of rehabilitation began. The bird was an American Bald Eagle. The Bald Eagle was released back into the wild post rehabilitation. One bird, one strike, another positive ending. But not for the blackbirds. That is if lightning can kill thousands of birds in one shot.
And then there’s the hail element. Could hail have pounded thousands of blackbirds to death? Hail could. But so can a 747.
As for the red-winged blackbird, between all of the above, it appears the red-winged blackbird never had an easy life. Flying through explosions, dodging lightning bolts and so on.
To us the life of a red-wing is for the birds. To them, the sky is the limit – on sunny days.
Source(s): AGFC: APHIS; MSNBC.com; Medscape.com; Best Friends.org (accessed / embedded Jan. 3, 2011)